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The Chantic Bird

The Chantic Bird: Text Classics

Text Classics

David Ireland

Introduction by Geordie Williamson

I’m only telling you this to let you know what a silly thing it is to live like I do. What it was, I got sacked from my seventeenth job for fighting or gambling—I don’t know which—and because I was hardly ever there. I was gambling all right, but someone called me a cheat and swung at me, I moved my head and swung back and this kid went in to one of the bosses with blood coming out of his mouth saying I was a standover man.

The Chantic Bird is the confession of a teenage anarchist, who combines a contempt for contemporary society with a great tenderness and warmth for his younger siblings and for Bee, the girl who looks after them.

The first of David Ireland’s masterful novels, The Chantic Bird contains the same characteristic indictment of the bovine mindlessness of collective humanity, and the home-owning wage slaves.

‘It has been my aim to take apart, then build up piece by piece, this mosaic of one kind of human life…to remind my present age of its industrial adolescence.’ David Ireland

This edition of The Chantic Bird comes with a new introduction by Geordie Williamson.

Read Geordie Williamson's introduction here.

About the Author

David Ireland was born in 1927 on a kitchen table in Lakemba in south-western Sydney. He lived in many places and worked at many jobs, including greenskeeper, factory hand, and for an extended period in an oil refinery, before he became a full-time writer.

Ireland started out writing poetry and drama but then turned to fiction. His first novel,...

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Text publication date:
25 March 2015
First published:
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Social Commentary, Growing up in Australia
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Praise for David Ireland
andThe Chantic Bird

‘One of the most remarkable novels—first, fifth or fifteenth—to appear on the scene for many a long day…Compassionate and pitiless, savage and sad, ironic and naive, horrifying and farcical.’

‘Gloriously and savagely comic.’

Other editions ofThe Chantic Bird
  • The Chantic Bird
    ISBN: 9781925095821
    25 March 2015
    Buy ebook